While King County is coping with the effects of the coronavirus, there’s another crisis emerging. King County is experiencing a record number of deaths related to fentanyl, according to KOMO News. As of May 16, 2020, the county had 55 confirmed overdose deaths. What’s behind the increase? Why does fentanyl cause so many fatalities? And if you’re addicted to opioids like OxyContin or heroin, how do you avoid fentanyl? Let’s look at the relationship between fentanyl overdoses and opioid addiction along with options for recovery. 

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid. Opioids are powerful drugs with pain-relieving qualities. They can also make someone feel relaxed and euphoric. There are prescription opioids like OxyContin that are prescribed to help patients with pain relief. People can become addicted to prescription opioids, which can lead to looking for alternatives like heroin. 

Fentanyl can also be prescribed for pain, but it’s typically used in severe cases, like for severe cancer pain. It’s 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Why Are So Many People Overdosing?

Fentanyl is also made and sold illegally. It’s sometimes mixed with other drugs like heroin or cocaine, and the person buying the drugs may not know that it’s cut with fentanyl. In King County, the majority of deaths have been linked to blue pills marked “M30,” which are referred to as oxys. 

Since people don’t realize that there’s fentanyl in the drugs they’ve bought, they take the same amount they usually do. Since fentanyl is much more potent, they overdose without realizing it. 

How Do You Avoid Fentanyl?

The best way to avoid fentanyl is to not buy illegal opioids. If you or a loved one is experiencing opioid addiction, though, that might not be easy. To avoid purchasing illegal opioids, you need to work to end your addiction to opioids. You don’t have to end your addiction on your own, though. You have several treatment options available. 

Medication

Opioids cause intense cravings, and withdrawal can be painful and uncomfortable. There are several medications available to help. They include:

  • Methadone: Methadone helps to prevent withdrawal symptoms and cravings. It also blunts the effects of opioids. 
  • Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine is long-acting and also helps with withdrawal symptoms and cravings. 
  • Suboxone: Suboxone combines buprenorphine with naloxone. Buprenorphine can cause mild euphoric effects, which means there’s a potential for misuse. Naloxone is added to buprenorphine to prevent misuse. 
  • Naltrexone: This prescription takes away the high that you would ordinarily experience when taking an opioid. It helps to prevent relapses.

Counseling

Counseling can be a powerful tool for ending addiction. It helps you uncover unhealthy ways of thinking and learn to replace those thoughts with healthy ones. You learn new ways to cope with life’s stresses and strategies for avoiding people and situations that might lead to substance use. 

Counseling can take place in several settings, including one-on-one and in groups with other peers experiencing addiction. Family counseling is also an option, and it can include spouses, partners, and other family members. 

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) combines medications with counseling and behavioral therapies. It’s a holistic approach to treatment, covering the physical aspects of addiction and withdrawal with the mental and emotional needs of those experiencing opioid addiction. 

Finding Treatment

Where can you find effective treatment? Opioid addiction treatment can take place in residential settings and outpatient settings. Residential treatment allows you to focus on your treatment exclusively. Residential treatment can also be expensive, and it requires you to take time away from your responsibilities. 

Outpatient treatment is much more flexible. You can continue your day-to-day responsibilities and receive treatment on a schedule that works for you. 

Associated Behavioral Health Care (ABHC) offers several outpatient options for treatment. You can meet with experienced professionals at any of its four greater Seattle locations or meeting through its online telehealth options. It’s been helping patients since 1995 and offers individually tailored treatment to its clients, including medications. 

ABHC offers day, evening, and weekend sessions and multiple payment options. It’s also the preferred provider for most commercial insurance plans. Is ABHC right for you? Find out by calling 1-800-858-6702 or by contacting us online. We’re ready to help. 

References:

https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/treatment/methadone
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/opioids/treating-opioid-addiction.html
https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/treatment/buprenorphine
https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/fentanyl.html
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/opioids/what-are-opioids.html
https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-opioids
https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment
https://www.abhc.com/addictions/